Video: American Well on New Telehealth Modalities and More


Remote care options are key during a disease outbreak. Here's how telehealth is removing the physical barriers between patients and clinicians.

Mary Modahl

3 min read

At the 2019 Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit, we interviewed many organizations' leaders about the business of health transformation. One executive we spoke with, Mary Modahl, Chief Marketing Officer at the telehealth company, American Well, eliminates barriers to care by virtually connecting patients and providers.

Telehealth, the new front line to clinical care, has tremendous opportunity to impact the trajectory of in-person, patient-physician contact — especially during an event like the COVID-19 outbreak. According to American Well's recent webinar on the topic (How to Use Telehealth as a Key Element of your Infection Control and Prevention Strategy), the fact that COVID-19 spreads person-to-person completely changes the game. Knowing a potential COVID-19 patient's travel history and known contact with those who may have been exposed is not enough as the virus continues to infect those who have not experienced direct exposure to the ill. The benefits of telehealth during the COVID-19 outbreak, said American Well, include offering another point of care delivery, helping manage good infection control, and easing patients' fears of waiting rooms.

Below, we offer a closer look on American Well's telehealth mission and vision:

Memorable Moments

  • "When you look at consumers, 65 percent of them are willing to use telehealth, but only 8 percent actually have so far. ... Twenty-three percent of doctors offer telehealth, but only 6 percent of consumers think their doctors offer it."
  • "Historically, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has had some restrictions on where and when telehealth can be used. For example, an originating site of care that a patient has to be at in order to use telehealth. Now, CMS is beginning to liberalize those rules, particularly for Medicare Advantage. Starting in 2020, a Medicare Advantage plan can offer telemedicine as a part of basic benefits, which wasn't the case before."
  • "Now, we're starting to see health plans look into two things: one is extending into chronic disease conditions where perhaps care management services will start to use telemedicine. And also an increasing interest in 'digital first' as a concept where people are first assisted digitally."
  • "If you think about it, the most installed piece of equipment in the home is the television, and also [it seems like almost] every hospital room in the country has a television. Is there a way for us to turn these into endpoints for the healthcare system? That's the question being asked in [our Cisco] partnership."
  • Mary Modahl